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Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life Paperback – November 24, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"Lucid Food isn’t just a mere cookbook but a blueprint for accessible, eco-friendly living."
—Organic Spa Magazine, May/June 2010 

"With earthy tones and recipes organized by season, Lucid Food by Louisa Shafia becomes a year-round guide to cooking in rhythm with the earth. Shafia combines tips with unusual recipes that take the stress out of incorporating conscious practices into your daily life."
—Associated Press, 4/20/10

"Whether you are inclined to forage for your food or find it at your local farmers market, Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life is a must-read addition to your kitchen bookshelf."
—, 4/12/10

“There's no shortage of books that proselytize in favor of local and sustainable eating, but few manage to espouse their arguments in such a tasty manner as Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life”.
“A passionate foodie and an environmentalist, Louisa Shafia, shares her tips for earth-friendly cooking in her cookbook Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life (Ten Speed Press, 2009). Recipes for dishes like roasted beets with persimmons over market greens and Indonesian corn fritters are categorized by season to highlight the freshest produce and local ingredients available. It's also packed with information about eco-friendly shopping and more.”

“Seasonal and quirky, with challenges for rethinking kitchen habits.”
—Washington Post

“Even people who can't boil water will gobble up the gorgeous, easy and veggie-packed recipes in Lucid Food.”
“Shafia's non-preachy tone and sparkling enthusiasm make the book an inspiring read, and even the converted can learn a thing or two.”
—Philadelphia City Paper
Lucid Food is an exciting guide to eco-friendly eating, with original recipes that are both intriguing and delightful.”
“If the lucid photos of heirloom vegetables and recipes for fesenjan (chicken in pomegranate walnut sauce) or imazushi (stuffed tofu pockets) aren’t enough substance to win you over, it’s the friendly and instructive tips for no-waste entertaining or composting for beginners. This book takes a look at the big picture of food, cherishing the healthy and seasonal, and keeping readers aware of the little ways in which they can make a difference by “greening their cuisine.”
—Not Eating Out in New York

Lucid Food brings seasonal cuisine up a notch with simple dishes that are elegant, delicious, and absolutely beautiful. Readers will learn about cooking with ethnic flavors while also making food choices that are better for themselves and the environment.”
—Marcus Samuelsson, chef/co-owner of Aquavit and author of The New American Table
“Louisa’s approach to cooking is extremely exciting because she really walks the walk. Lucid Food is not just a cookbook of great recipes--it’s a friendly, green guide to entertaining, finding the best ingredients, and navigating the often murky waters of eco-conscious living.”
—Ming Tsai, chef/owner of Blue Ginger, host/executive producer of Simply Ming, and author of Simply Ming
“I’ve had the privilege of seeing Louisa in her element: the kitchen. The spirit she brings to her meals--the sense of fun, community, and pleasure--comes through loud and clear in this beautiful book. As more and more of us awaken to the social and ecological costs of the American fast food diet, chefs like Louisa show us a real food path that is healthy, accessible, and delectable.”
—Anna Lappé, cofounder of the Small Planet Institute and author of Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Our Fork and What We Can Do about It
“Louisa Shafia offers an approachable look at the importance of sustainable eating in today’s culture and explains how we can afford to eat organic and local foods. I’m very excited that there is now a book that parents, working professionals, and college students can use in the kitchen to create foods that are healthy for themselves and the planet!”
—Maria Hines, executive chef and owner of Tilth Restaurant

From the Publisher

* A stylish collection of healthy, eco-oriented recipes, tips, and entertaining ideas, from the owner of New York's greenest catering company.
* 80 seasonal recipes that make the principles of the eco-foods movement accessible to urban home cooks.
* Organic food sales are anticipated to increase an average of 18 percent each year through 2010.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158008964X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580089647
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #847,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Louisa's latest book, The New Persian Kitchen, is a fresh take on the vibrant cuisine of Iran. Her first cookbook, Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, is a collection of seasonal recipes that was nominated for an IACP award. Louisa has cooked at restaurants in San Francisco and New York, including Millennium, Aquavit, and Pure Food and Wine. She has created original recipes for Whole Living, Food Network Magazine, Prevention, and Better Homes and Gardens. Look for her on the Cooking Channel's Taste in Translation series, making Persian kebabs. Learn more about Louisa and watch her cooking videos at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By EvieIvie on December 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
My assessment of "Lucid Food" is two-fold, both as a cookbook and as a book-book. As a cookbook it has some inspiring recipes and great suggestions, but recipes like "Persian Stuffed Dumpling Squash with Rose Petals" all but defeat any locavore tendencies, and have some far-fetched, hard to secure ingredients. I love any cookbook organized by season though, and am a sucker for beautiful photography, both of which "Lucid Food" offers. If you are willing to improvise, feel secure in the kitchen, and are interested in some imaginative recipes it is a good read.

As a traditional book I'm highly impressed with the depth of knowledge, clear manner in which is is conveyed, and most of all how concise the author was able to be when discussing sometimes complicated food issues. Within 2 pages Shafia is able to both shed light on some of the issues with 'traditional' white sugar and offer a myriad of solutions/alternatives. She is able, in only a few paragraphs, to discuss why you should seek out organic bananas, discuss their seemingly imminent demise, genetic diversity, and offer alternatives. While I used to have a very good memory for irrelevant data, like page numbers for certain information in books, I've all but lost that in distraction with 'real life'. When discussing "Lucid Food" with my husband, I was able to recall page numbers for him for information that struck me - a testament to the quality of information and intriguing presentation.

If you want good food-related info, enjoy food-porn photography, or seek a new diverse set of recipes I say check "Lucid Food".
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Cookbooker on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
What a great book! I really enjoyed the mix of recipes and eco entertaining tips. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for healthy, delicious dishes and helpful tips for having a greener kitchen (that are actually easy).
My favorite recipes include the Fall Fruit Focaccia, Fesenjan (Chicken in Pomegranate Walnut Sauce), Indian Spiced Scrambled Eggs, and Miso-Glazed Striped Bass with Shiso Cucumber Salad. The Tamarind Ketchup is a new staple condiment in my house. The gorgeous photographs bring the recipes to life and help readers to visualize the interesting combinations of ingredients suggested in the book. I have expanded my repertoire and pantry as a result. I'm looking forward to more exciting things from Lucid Food!
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Format: Paperback
Gorgeous with scrolling artwork and vibrant images, Lucid Food arrives, a present, wrapped and ready. I am enamored. Also, I am hungry. Thumbing past photography for Chickpea Cakes with a verdant green Cilantro-Jalapeno Sauce, Fall Fruit Focaccia succulent with apple wedges, Crispy Yuba Rolls that look toasty brown and crunchy, ready to dip, I confess to some absent-minded lip licking. On the second pass, I'm stuck on the Ash-e-reshteh, or Persian New Year's Soup with Beans, Noodles and Herbs, all the colorful, herby bits crowded into a steaming bowl.

Louisa Shafia knows how to eat well, fashioning meals from quality produce and local fare. Nestled amid the recipes are the nuggets of valuable health information that expand Lucid Food from a mere (heavenly) cookbook to kitchen notebook. Shafia's voice, warm and genuine, weaves her decades of food knowledge throughout the book, sharing her notes on sustainability, locality, and old-fashioned DIY values.

I'll admit I am obsessed with the new wave of seasonal collections. Particularly, I enjoy the variety of produce that pop up in these, even if it isn't always available in rural Kansas. These are people bedeviled by produce. (My kind of people.) Shafia adds a rich reference to the home cook's stash, reimagining tired winter vegetables into savory staples.

Poised to win a spot on my shelf of beloved, dog-eared cookbooks, Lucid Food serves up nearly 100 delectable recipes, only about a dozen featuring fish or meat. (It's not frowned upon, don't worry about harsh words; it's simply not the focus here.) There aren't photos of every recipe, but the photos included showcase lush preparations of plump, perfectly-cooked veggies with occasional animal proteins tucked in.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By AI on February 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was really excited about this book. The concept sounds great, it looks beautiful, and I was looking forward to making some environmentally friendly recipes. However, I have only succeeded in making one recipe from this book (a cucumber and pomegranate salad), because everything else is just so incredibly impractical. Almost every recipe requires an obscure ingredient--agar-agar powder, for example, or yuba. I suppose for some of them you could try to find substitutes, but the obscure ingredient is often the "eco-friendly" one, and replacing it defeats the purpose of the cookbook. If you regularly shop at Middle Eastern and Asian markets or like to keep these odd ingredients on hand, this is the cookbook for you! Otherwise, I would give it a pass.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bortzilla on September 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was given this book as a gift - I don't think anybody has ever given me a cookbook before. Most of my cookbooks have been picked up second hand, and they are usually something I poke my nose into for occasional guidance. Not so much with this one. It's a book I've found in my hands in my living room (not the kitchen!) reading and enjoying while making occasional "ooh" and "ahh" sounds. Kind of strange. These are sounds I tend to make looking through travel guides and backpacking magazines. Which is kind of what this book reminds me of - something that gets me excited to see and do new things, and plan new adventures.

Of course, planning a dinner is a bit easier than an expedition, but it's still exciting. The recipes are fun, exotic and from what I've managed to create - Delicious. I'm pretty far from a gourmet chef. My stove top usually looks like something has exploded on it. But even a bungling bonehead like me has been able to make some glorious meals from this book.
[wow, I used the word 'glorious' and I don't feel like I'm exaggerating!]

Sometimes the ingredients listed can seem a little intimidating - especially if you aren't sure what they are. But don't worry about it, go with the flow and make substitutions for things you can't find. Part of the fun has been learning about new foods I've never cooked with before.
I took a stab at the "chicken paillars with tomato puree over arugula" (page 156) the other day. Oh man, it turned out so wonderful I'm not even sure what superlative to use here. I'll go with YOWZA! A word that describes the look on my girlfriend's face as we bit into this dish and sat there smiling at each other - simply amazed that We had created a dish so moist and succulent and tantalizing and - well you get the idea.
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